Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Making LCFF Work- in Sacramento

At the June 5, 2015,  meeting,  and each year since, the Community Priorities Coalition presented the Sacramento City board with alternatives ways to invest in our children. 

Funding of California’s k-12 public education system is changing fundamentally.  Some schools will get much more money to educate kids as described in the above video.  The centerpiece of the change is the Local Control Funding Formula, designed to send additional funds to districts where  “the need and the challenge is greatest.”  The law requires that  parents, students, teachers, and other community members be involved in the process of deciding how new funds are spent. 
Ed Source has an excellent guide to these changes.

    Sacramento City Unified’s plan for Local Control Funding is on their web site.
   LCAP Timeline and Process-  here.

 SCUSD outlines its LCAP development process, Community Planning Process, timeline, and lists potential community partners to engage with in LCFF implementation. A new budget has been submitted  and should be on the web site this PM. 

After submitting a report and requests for three years,   an updated report will be submitted on June 15 of this year.  As of yet, the SCUSD board has not responded  in prior years by spending the money the way it was  intended to be spent. 

Here is our submission for the 2017/ 2018 school year.

May 4, 2017

To: Jay Hansen, President
Jessie Ryan, 1st Vice President Darrell Woo. 2nd Vice President Christina Pritchett. Member Ellen Cochrane, Member
Mai Vang, Member Michael Minnick, Member Natalie Ross. Member
Jose Banda, Superintendent

Dear Board of Trustees and Superintendent:

The Sacramento City Community Priority Coalition (CPC) is pleased to submit to the Sacramento City Unified School District its 20 l 7-18 Budget as another budget scenario to consider.

The CPC coalition member organizations and groups consist of Black Parallel School Board, Building Healthy Communities. Hmong Innovating Politics, La Familia Counseling Center. Making Cents Work, PRO Youth and Families , Sacramento Area Congregations Together, Democracy and Education Institute, and Public Advocates Inc.
Based on the input of our respective communities. the CPC recommends three major priorities for both the LCAP and the LCFF that we conclude will better serve the students of our communities. Those priorities include:

       Class size adjustments/reductions in select high need schools - beginning with grade 4-6 and gradually progressing to higher grades after three years of LCAP implementation.
       Culturally competent professional development to enhance school climate and ensure the use of effective and restorative discipline policies in all schools for all students.
       After school and/or other early intervention supports/programsdesigned to improve and further classroom performance.
The district needs to attract quality teachers that reflect the diversity of the students and continue class-size reduction, address inequities regarding our low-income and high needs students, increase graduation rates, improve professional development, and continue to improve community outreach and involvement year around. Monies allocated through the Local Control Funding process are required by law to be spent on increased or improved services and actions that are principally directed to meet the needs of specific target populations: low income, English Language Learners, foster children, special education.

In addition , to increased funding for class size reduction beyond grades K-3: specific funds should be allocated to meet the needs of the designated targeted populations. For example, English Language Learners need additional instructional assistance and increased efforts to involve their parents in their education programs. including bilingual counselors , teachers, social workers and other staff. Funds should be allocated to establish designated additional programs for ELL students in those schools with large numbers of English Language Learners. These programs might include the use of additional certificated personnel, and/or classified staff.

We recommend that the budget adopted by Sac City Unified School District clearl y and specifically designate where funds will be spent to meet these target populations. At present, we are unable to track funds from the district budget to serving these target students. We strongly recommend that this change. The district should specifically and clearly indicate the amounts of funds planned for specific services and actions that are increases or improvements principally directed to meet the needs of each target group, and which funds have been planned used for spending on combinations of these groups, and which funds have been used for all students districtwide, in addition to funds allocated by school site, which the district currently identifies . This level of transparency is necessary for parents , students and the community to be involved in a meaningful way in the LCAP development process and other district and school site decision making processes.

Our Budget proposal reflects our communi ty' s priorities and we request that you consider our Budget along with the District's staff Budget in making a very important decision on providing the highest qualit y of education for all children.

Lastly, we request  the  Board  to schedule  more  time in  between your first  reading of the LCAP draft and draft budget and the adoption of the LCAP and budget. Currentl y, these board meeting dates are June  1 and  June  15--less  than  two  weeks to review and comment  between  the first reading board meeting and the time by which a second draft would have to be published to meet Bro\,\,ll Act notice requirements.  We appreciate that last year the Board  granted our request to set  a later meeting in June for the adoption of the LCAP  and  budget  and  request  that  it do the same this year,  and  in the future.

    SCUSD did not incorporate the suggestions of the Community Priority Coalition to focus on class size reduction, changes in discipline, and faculty in service for the last 3 years.   Instead, they propose to use the extra funds to finance the programs they already support.  In this the SCUSD board relies on the district staff.  That is, they plan to continue what they have been doing and to call it community participation.
The budget hearing for the school board is Thursday, June 15, at the Serna Center.
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